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EenVandaag, the current affairs program of the Dutch broadcaster Nederland 1, is the 2015 EMEA Insight Community of the Year. The program won after dazzling over 200 attendees of the 2015 Vision Critical Europe Summit in London.

This year’s fierce competition for the title included finalists O2, the giant U.K. mobile telecommunications company; Ster-Kinekor Theatres, Africa’s largest cinema exhibitor; Global, home to eight of the U.K.’s top commercial radio stations; leading online retailer Boden, and QVC, one of the world’s largest multimedia retailers and the U.K.’s first shopping channel.

Before people voted, the finalists made their case to the attendees, which was made up of marketers, market researchers and business executives.

TV personality Gijs Rademaker presented for EenVandaag and shared how the company uses EenVandaag Opiniepanel, its insight community of 50,000 viewers, to help shape its programming and change the national conversation in the Netherlands.

As Rademaker shared at the Summit, EenVandaag Opiniepanel’s genesis was sparked by a national tragedy: the 2001 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician who was leading the polls for the Prime Minister. Fortuyn’s death, according to Rademaker, exposed a gap between what was being reported in the media and what citizens actually felt. The producers of EenVandaag felt that they had a responsibility to close that gap.

At first, the idea of asking a community of tens of thousands of people for their views on news and current affairs seem preposterous, but the broadcaster decided to go ahead and create an insight community. “Thanks to our EenVandaag Opiniepanel, EenVandaag is not ‘just’ a current affairs programme, it has become one of the leading forces in the Dutch media world,” said Rademaker.

In his presentation, Rademaker shared how EenVandaag maximizes the use of its insight community:

  1. Do deep profiling. Given that EenVandaag shares results from the community to the entire country of the Netherlands, it’s critical that the community reflects the views of the majority. In addition to demographic data, the community has information on people’s political leanings and people’s past opinions on various national issues. Added Rademaker, “We have built this information into our insight community to make the process very quick and almost automatic.”
  1. Be fast. The community often engages people to ask for their opinions on breaking news. For example, when the country’s justice minister stepped down in March, EenVandaag Opiniepanel asked its members for feedback, receiving responses within hours. Minutes after the news broke at 9 AM local time, the EenVandaag team immediately engaged the community and got a rough idea of what people thought and started putting together visuals for the TV show in the evening. Because the team used real-time reporting from Vision Critical’s platform, they were able to update the stats until the last minute. When they went on air, they had over 13,000 responses about the issue.
  1. Leverage social media. Recognizing that today’s viewer is social media savvy, EenVandaag ensures that its engagement activities can easily be shared on social networks. Revealed Rademaker, “we have built a special social media button that lets our members share the link to a survey they participated in, and ask their friends or followers to participate.” EenVandaag, the show that Rademaker hosts, regularly trends on Twitter due to EenVandaag Opiniepanel’s social media capabilities.
  1. Determine what matters to people. Unlike most communities, EenVandaag Opiniepanel doesn’t offer incentives. The company found that the main reason people join the community was to get their voice heard—and that was enough of a motivation for their participation.“Their opinions are reflected in our radio and television shows and online, where we present them to politicians and policy makers,” said Rademaker, adding that the community has an impressive response rate of over 60 percent and receives over 1.3 million completed surveys from its community annually.
  1. Ensure quality when presenting results. Due to the nature of the topics that EenVandaag Opiniepanel covers, surveys in the community are longer than the typical market research survey. When results are presented on the program, Rademaker’s team makes sure that the results are scientifically accurate and that the broadcaster provides enough context about the stats.“We work closely with a group of experienced university scholars, specialized in opinion polls and statistics,” said Rademaker. “They watch us carefully, advise us when wanted, and correct us when needed. Their comments are very valuable to us.”
  1. Make activities relevant to people. The size of its insight community allows EenVandaag to reach out to special groups in the news (for example, schoolteachers, voters, etc) and ask them about timely topics that matter to them. One recent activity engaged only the railway guards and drivers in the community, allowing EenVandaag to dig deeper and explore the various issues facing this profession and what solutions people want to see.

Overall, EenVandaag Opiniepanel gives a voice to a large, silent majority in the Netherlands—which is crucial to balancing the loud (but often minority) voices that often dominate the media.

“The Opiniepanel gives us insights no other competing medium has,” Rademaker said. “We are able to find ordinary people with unique experiences and tell their stories on national radio and television, faster than newspapers or other current affairs programmes.”

From all of us at Vision Critical, congrats to EenVandaag for its continued success with EenVandaag Opiniepanel and for winning the EMEA Insight Community of the Year award!

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